Peer Advocacy Center hosts open house

On Oct. 18, the Office of Academic Advising hosted an open house for the new Peer Advocacy Center.

SVSU advisors and peer advocates welcomed students, staff and faculty to the new space on campus. Attendees were invited to grab popcorn and treats as well as get into the Halloween spirit with a pumpkin voting contest.

Graduate Assistant for First Year Programs and Retention Tyler Hanna played a large part in planning the event.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity to advertise and officially open the peer advocacy center for the students outside of our college transition program,” he said. “We decided to do a soft opening at the beginning of the semester, and we advertised during the Red Pride Picnic.”

Hanna added that the peer advocates played a key role in the planning of the event.

“[The peer advocates] played a huge part in the engagement aspect of the event,” he said. “They brought in the festive spirit of the holidays by decorating the pumpkins that would help students smile as we near midterms.”

As Hanna highlighted, the peer advocacy center did a soft openingat the beginning of the school year,meaning that the center has been open for a little over a month.

The center was first proposed by Retention Specialist for first year students Sarah Ward as a spot on-campus where students can go to ask any questions about college life at SVSU.

Ward said the center has been a success thus far.

“We’ve seen a lot of students coming to the peer advocacy center not only to seek resources but also socializing and study sessions happening,” she said.

Hanna added that the center looks forward to partnering with various resources and organizations on campus throughout the year.

“In November, we are planning on having a joint workshop between the Peer Advocacy Center and the writing center,” he said. “One of the things we want to help students with is writing in MLA and APA for writing papers and completing assignments.”

One of the center’s peer advocates, fourth year public health major Macy Docken, looks forward to helping students at the center.

“When this year started and I heard there was going to be a center, I was so excited because we finally have a common place for students to come to,” she said. “The environment that we have built is very open and inviting. We’re here when you need us.”

Another peer advocate, fifth year political science major Surina Gupta, added that the addition of the center is beneficial in peer advocates’ goal of helping students succeed.

“I really want to help freshman. I think that retention is a huge piece of college life and university life and I think that Sarah [Ward] is doing such an amazing job prioritizing it and putting it front and center,” she said.

The Peer Advocacy Center is open Monday through Friday every week.

“Come in if you are having trouble finding something on campus, if you’re struggling with your academics, really, it can be anything within any dimension of that transition to college.”

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